Well to eastward and rearward of Daun, where we have seen Loudon about to be very busy, Prince Henri and Fouquet have spun themselves out into a long chain of posts, in length 300 miles or more, "from Landshut, along the Bober, along the Queiss and Oder, through the Neumark, abutting on Stettin and Colberg, to the Baltic Sea." [Tempelhof, iv. 21-24.] On that side, in aid of Loudon or otherwise, Daun can attempt nothing; still less on the Katzenhauser-Schlettau side can he dream of an attempt: only towards Brandenburg and Berlin--the Country on that side, 50 or 60 miles of it, to eastward of Meissen, being vacant of troops-- is Daun's road open, were he enterprising, as Friedrich hopes he is not. For some two weeks, Friedrich--not ready otherwise, it being difficult to cross the River, if Lacy with his 30,000 should think of interference--had to leave the cunctatory Feldmarschall this chance or unlikely possibility. At the end of the second week ("June 14th," as we shall mark by and by), the chance was withdrawn.
Daun and his Lacy are but one, and that by no means the most harassing, of the many cares and anxieties which Friedrich has upon him in those Seven Weeks, while waiting at Schlettau, reading the omens. Never hitherto was the augury of any Campaign more indecipherable to him, or so continually fluctuating with wild hopes, which proved visionary, and with huge practical fears, of what he knew to be the real likelihood. "Peace coming?" It is strange how long Friedrich clings to that fond hope: "My Edelsheim is in the Bastille, or packed home in disgrace: but will not the English and Choiseul make Peace? It is Choiseul's one rational course; bankrupt as he is, and reduced to spoons and kettles. In which case, what a beautiful effect might Duke Ferdinand produce, if he marched to Eger, say to Eger, with his 50,000 Germans (Britannic Majesty and Pitt so gracious), and twitched Daun by the skirt, whirling Daun home to Bohemia in a hurry!" Then the Turks; the Danes,--"Might not the Danes send us a trifle of Fleet to Colberg (since the English never will), and keep our Russians at bay?"--"At lowest these hopes are consolatory," says he once, suspecting them all (as, no doubt, he often enough does), "and give us courage to look calmly for the opening of this Campaign, the very idea of which has made me shudder!" ["To Prince Henri:" in
Meanwhile, by the end of May, the Russians are come across the Weichsel again, lie in four camps on the hither side; start about June 1st;--Henri waiting for them, in Sagan Country his head- quarter; and on both hands of that, Fouquet and he spread out, since the middle of May, in their long thin Chain of Posts, from Landshut to Colberg again, like a thin wall of 300 miles. To Friedrich the Russian movements are, and have been, full of enigma: "Going upon Colberg? Going upon Glogau; upon Breslau?" That is a heavy-footed certainty, audibly tramping forward on us, amid these fond visions of the air! Certain too, and visible to a duller eye than Friedrich's; Loudon in Silesia is meditating mischief. "The inevitable Russians, the inevitable Loudon; and nothing but Fouquet and Henri on guard there, with their long thin chain of posts, infinitely too thin to do any execution!" thinks the King. To whom their modes of operating are but little satisfactory, as seen at Schlettau from the distance. "Condense yourself," urges he always on Henri; "go forward on the Russians; attack sharply this Corps, that Corps, while they are still separate and on march!" Henri did condense himself, "took post between Sagan and Sprottau; post at Frankfurt,"--poor Frankfurt, is it to have a Kunersdorf or Zorndorf every year, then? No; the cautious Henri never could see his way into these adventures; and did not attack any Corps of the Russians. Took post at Landsberg ultimately,--the Russians, as usual, having Posen as place-of-arms,--and vigilantly watched the Russians, without coming to strokes at all. A spectacle growing gradually intolerable to the King, though he tries to veil his feelings.
Neither was Fouquet's plan of procedure well seen by Friedrich in the distance. Ever since that of Regiment Manteuffel, which was a bit of disappointment, Loudon has been quietly industrious on a bigger scale. Privately he cherishes the hope, being a swift vehement enterprising kind of man, to oust Fouquet; and perhaps to have Glatz Fortress taken, before his Russians come! In the very end of May, Loudon, privately aiming for Glatz, breaks in upon Silesia again,--a long way to eastward of Fouquet, and as if regardless of Glatz. Upon which, Fouquet, in dread for Schweidnitz and perhaps Breslau itself, hastened down into the Plain Country, to manoeuvre upon Loudon; but found no Loudon moving that way; and, in a day or two, learned that Landshut, so weakly guarded, had been picked up by a big corps of Austrians; and in another day or two, that Loudon (June 7th) had blocked Glatz,--Loudon's real intention now clear to Fouquet. As it was to Friedrich from the first; whose anger and astonishment at this loss of Landshut were great, when he heard of it in his Camp of Schlettau. "Back to Landshut," orders he (11th June, three days before leaving Schlettau); "neither Schweidnitz nor Breslau are in danger: it is Glatz the Austrians mean [as Fouquet and all the world now see they do!]; watch Glatz; retake me Landshut instantly!"
The tone of Friedrich, which is usually all friendliness to Fouquet, had on this occasion something in it which offended the punctual and rather peremptory Spartan mind. Fouquet would not have neglected Glatz; pity he had not been left to his own methods with Landshut and it. Deeply hurt, he read this Order (16th June); and vowing to obey it, and nothing but it, used these words, which were remembered afterwards, to his assembled Generals: "MEINE HERREN, it appears, then, we must take Landshut again. Loudon, as the next thing, will come on us there with his mass of force; and we must then, like Prussians, hold out as long as possible, think of no surrender on open field, but if even beaten, defend ourselves to the last man. In case of a retreat, I will be one of the last that leaves the field: and should I have the misfortune to survive such a day, I give you my word of honor never to draw a Prussian sword more." [Stenzel, v. 239.] This speech of Fouquet's (June 16th) was two days after Friedrich got on march from Schlettau. June 17th, Fouquet got to Landshut; drove out the Austrians more easily than he had calculated, and set diligently, next day, to repair his works, writing to Friedrich: "Your Majesty's Order shall be executed here, while a man of us lives." Fouquet, in the old Crown-Prince time, used to be called Bayard by his Royal friend. His Royal friend, now darker of face and scathed by much ill-weather, has just quitted Schlettau, three days before this recovery of Landshut; and will not have gone far till he again hear news of Fouquet.
NIGHT OF JUNE 14th-15th, Friedrich, "between Zehren and Zabel," several miles down stream,--his bridges now all ready, out of Lacy's cognizance,--has suddenly crossed Elbe; and next afternoon pitches camp at Broschwitz, which is straight towards Lacy again. To Lacy's astonishment; who is posted at Moritzburg, with head- quarter in that beautiful Country-seat of Polish Majesty,--only 10 miles to eastward, should Friedrich take that road. Broschwitz is short way north of Meissen, and lies on the road either to Grossenhayn or to Radeburg (Radeburg only four miles northward of Lacy), as Friedrich shall see fit, on the morrow. For the Meissen north road forks off there, in those two directions: straight northward is for Grossenhayn, right hand is for Badeburg. Most interesting to Lacy, which of these forks, what is quite optional, Friedrich will take! Lacy is an alert man; looks well to himself; warns Daun; and will not be caught if he can help it. Daun himself is encamped at Reichenberg, within two miles of him, inexpugnably intrenched as usual; and the danger surely is not great: nevertheless both these Generals, wise by experience, keep their eyes open.
The FIRST great Feat of Marching now follows, On Friedrich's part; with little or no result to Friedrich; but worth remembering, so strenuous, so fruitless was it,--so barred by ill news from without! Both this and the Second stand recorded for us, in brief intelligent terms by Mitchell, who was present in both; and who is perfectly exact on every point, and intelligible throughout,--if you will read him with a Map; and divine for yourself what the real names are, out of the inhuman blotchings made of them, not by Mitchell's blame at all. [Mitchell,
TUESDAY, JUNE 17th, second day of Friedrich's stay at Broschwitz, Mitchell, in a very confidential Dialogue they had together, learned from him, under seal of secrecy, That it was his purpose to march for Radeburg to-morrow morning, and attack Lacy and his 30,000, who lie encamped at Moritzburg out yonder; for which step his Majesty was pleased farther to show Mitchell a little what the various inducements were: "One Russian Corps is aiming as if for Berlin; the Austrians are about besieging Glatz,--pressing need that Fouquet were reinforced in his Silesian post of difficulty. Then here are the Reichs-people close by; can be in Dresden three days hence, joined to Daun: 80,000 odd there will then be of Enemies in this part: I must beat Lacy, if possible, while time still is!"--and ended by saying: "Succeed here, and all may yet be saved; be beaten here, I know the consequences: but what can I do? The risk must be run; and it is now smaller than it will ever again be."